Snowden docs prove GCSB spies on Kiwis – Greenwald

Stuff | 13 Sept 2014

Kiwis are being spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau, raising serious questions about whether Prime Minister John Key has been telling them the truth, an American journalist says.

Glenn Greenwald, flown out by Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom to expose New Zealand’s role in the international Five Eyes network, said he had been working for months on documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden which revealed the extent of New Zealand’s surveillance activities.

Greenwald  is guest speaker at an event organised by Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom in opposition to Key and the National government.

Speaking on TV3’s The Nation, Greenwald said he had been working on the New Zealand documents for several months because of statements made by Key that Kiwis had nothing to fear from the Government’s involvement in the Five Eyes surveillance network.

“The government made a variety of statements in connection with the new spying law that it wanted and was enacted last year to try and assuage the fears of New Zealanders about what the government was doing, including  things like we don’t engage in mass surveillance and we don’t target New Zealanders indiscriminately unless they’re involved in terrorism or cyber crimes and the like.

“And one of the things we wanted to do was investigate the truth of those statements and do the reporting that would let the New Zealand citizens know whether or not their government deceived them about what their spy agencies are doing and I can tell you – although i cant tell you what the reporting is yet – I can tell you there are serious questions about whether the current government was at all truthful with its citizens in connection with that bill.”

The Government changed the law in the wake of revelations the GCSB may have spied illegally on more than 80 New Zealanders.

The law at that time supposedly prohibited them from doing so. Leaked Snowden documents have revealed that other five eyes partners – Australia, the US, Britain and Canada – have been engaged in widespread surveillance on ordinary citizens.

Key said at the time of the law change that the “wholesale collection of metadata about New Zealanders” had not taken place.

Greenwald said he knew for certain that the New Zealand govenrment engaged in “extraordinary amounts of analysis of metadata”. ” Meaning whose talking to who, for how long, where they are when they speak, on a massive indiscriminate scale not just internationally but of New Zealanders as well.”

New Zealand spent an “extraordinary amount of resource” for a country its size on electronic surveillance and “every single thing that the NSA does…involves NZ directly. They are full fledged allies of this effort.”

That included spying on foreign governments, both friendly and hostile.

“New Zealand spies on a variety of countries on behalf of the US.  That’s the reporting we are still working on,….but I can tell you for certain….the NSA is incapable of accessing certain countries because of hostile relations they have with those countries and they use a variety of allies including New Zealand to spy on those countries for them.”

Asked if that might include China, Greenwald responded: “The GCSB spies on both hostile countries and allies for the US and the United Kingdom as well. Countries that probably New Zealanders would expect…..and [others] New Zealanders would say ‘why are we spying on countries like this in a western democracy’?’.

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